Every day we are faced with challenges, responsibilities, opportunities and decisions. When folks are in leadership positions, or other positions of influence, these factors are magnified, not only because how we deal with them affects who we are and how we perform, but also because others are observing, and how we approach these issues affects our overall credibility.
When you think about being the best you can be…what are YOU best at? Writing? Leadership? Teaching? Sports?? Music? Planning? Technology? Multiple things?
One of the choices we get to make when we have to demonstrate some type of performance, is whether to be substandard, mediocre, average, good, or at our best. Some folks have a mindset of good enough is good enough, but this doesn’t work if you are trying to achieve some standard of excellence. As my colleague and friend Billy D. Hayes often reminds people…”Don’t let your minimum standard be your maximum performance.” Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the nuclear navy, lived by the credo of always striving for a higher level of quality, and far beyond the minimum.
I like to put it another way… Bring your “A” Game! What does it mean to bring your “A” Game?
It means to do what it takes to be mentally prepared for whatever challenges we face.
It means to prepare ourselves to perform at our best…every day, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It means to know our craft, and to know how our performance affects the performance of the whole team…When we do our best, we help the team do its best. Our best makes others better, and when they are doing their best, they make US do better.
It means to focus on outcomes, not outputs, and realize that even though outputs may have measurable results, outcomes are synergistic and define the quality of outputs, and the value of the whole team.
Reality Check: We may not always feel like we are on top of our game. We are humans, our dispositions can change, our attitudes can be influenced by negative forces around us, we may not be physically sound on any given day, or we may just have way too much on our plate. So, how do we bring our “A” Game EVERY DAY?
We give ourselves positive self-talk… We tell ourselves, “Only our “A” game matters.” We hold ourselves accountable and we ask our mentors to hold us accountable.
Sometimes we will walk off the stage, out of a meeting, or away from a project and say to ourselves “That wasn’t my best.” We wouldn’t be human otherwise. The important thing though is that we know it, we recognize it because we know what our best looks like, and we make whatever adjustments necessary to get back on track.
Bringing our A game is about setting the bar for our own results and striving to meet or exceed that bar every time, every day.
Bringing our “A” game is about excelling beyond all expectations…our own, and everyone else’s.
What does YOUR “A” game look like? Next time you are feeling a little sluggish, or a little unprepared, or a little unsure… close your eyes and envision what you’re “A” game needs to look like… then take a breath, open your eyes and Bring you’re “A” Game!